After many years working with personal training clients, there is no question that there is an increasing fixation on fitness. We see this most in strength training when clients focus on counting reps and sets and seeing how they can increase the number they can do in a session.
It’s understandable to want to quantity your efforts. You want to look at the number of reps you did this week compared to a month ago and see that you are progressing. It seems obvious that doing more today than you did last year would be a great indication that you have become stronger – but is it?
Keep reading to learn why slowing down can actually give you better results. Then contact Top Tyr Training at (424) 398-0041 to learn more about your training options.
Quantifying Everything You’re Doing Can Be Harmful to Your Workout Routine
Every movement-based exercise you complete has two components: concentric and eccentric. Concentric involves shortening and contracting your muscles. This targets the muscles to complete an action, and, as a result, nutrients within the cells of the muscles are depleted.
This causes the body to increase your heart rate and send sugar to the cells so that you can keep doing the action you are doing. The main benefits of concentric motion are burning calories and boosting cardio output.
The second component, eccentric motion, involves lengthening the muscle. This creates micro-traumas to the muscle and bone fibers, essentially tearing down the muscle and breaking down the bone. The body reacts by repairing and rebuilding the muscle and bone fibers to be stronger than before you started. The main benefit of these actions is that you build that strength – but there’s a catch. You only build strength in the muscles and bones if they have time to recover and repair.
Why You Should Slow Down and Stop Focusing Only on Reps
The vital thing to know here is that concentric motion is the weaker of the two types of motions. Think of it this way: when doing a bench press, you can likely lower (eccentric movement) much more weight than you can push up (concentric movement). The same is true of squats, pull-ups, and other things you do during a workout.
If all you are thinking about is how many reps and sets you are getting through, then the tendency is to rush through the eccentric component because gravity and momentum can do much of the work if you let them.
But if you truly want to get stronger, is it better to do 30 pushups in 60 seconds or take 60 seconds to do one pushup? The truth is that it is more difficult, and generally yields better results, if you take one minute to do a single rep than if you do 30 in one minute.
At Top Tyr Training, we can help optimize your workouts so that you get the results you want. Read our training reviews and then contact us at (424) 398-0041 to get started.